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Sidi Touré’s Sahel Folk Out Now On Thrill Jockey; Watch Videos of Sidi & Friends


Malian singer & guitarist, Sidi Touré, is receiving rave reviews for his debut Thrill Jockey release, Sahel Folk, including being prominently featured in this past Sunday’s New York Times article on independent record labels’ embracing and exploring African sounds. Released last week, Sahel Folk features duets between Sidi and one friend chronicled in a live “field-recording” style at Sidi’s sister’s house. Each recording was done through a very specific two-day process — on the first day, the friends would meet, play, and choose a song over a glass of tea. On the second day, they would record the song, allowing themselves just two takes to retain the spontaneity of the recording and reunion. The simplicity of each recording highlights the beauty of the songs and the skill of the players. Take, for instance, the below videos. The first shows Sidi with Jiba Touré performing album track, “Adema,” where Jiba teaches Sidi how to play the song before they play. (Jiba passed away after they recorded the album, and the record is dedicated to him.) The second video, which was premiered on last week, shows Sidi and Douma Maiga, a virtuoso of the three-stringed guitar known as the kurbu, playing a traditional song part of Songhai folklore.

Sidi Touré and Jiba Touré perform “Adema”

Sidi Touré and Douma Maiga

“Sidi Touré’s second album is an intimate gem of bone-dry acoustic Afro-minimalism” – Richard Gehr, SPIN
“After a few listens of [Sidi Touré’s] Sahel Folk my affection for Mali grew even more. . . Performing a very loose, refined style called songhaï blues, the repetitious nature of his guitar quickly leaves one entranced. . . With a surge of African artists making their presence known in modern America, expect Sidi to soon catapult into that list.” – Derek Beres, Huffington Post
“. . . brims with hushed, thoughtful vocals and, of course, that shimmering waterfall of Malian guitar. In short, it’s absolutely gorgeous stuff.” – Rachel Devitt, Rhapsody’s Most Anticipated Albums of 2011: World/Latin
“Mali seems to have room for another star Touré.” – Davis Inman,
“Sidi Touré was never supposed to make music. His family, Malian nobility, disapproved of his singing as a child, and his brother often broke the guitars he made from found materials. He persisted, though, developing a repertoire and approach on his instrument that stretch the folk music of his homeland into something new.” — Joe Tangari, Downbeat
“it captures not only a wide variety of textures, moods and voices, but also the musicians’ comfortable — and nonetheless passionate — virtuosity and elegance of expression.” – Kevin Macneil Brown, Dusted
“The music is full of taut contradictions, disciplined rhythms and wild flights of fancy, deep serenity and palpable longing, the heat of rapid picking alongside unhurried, contemplative cool. . . One of the real conundrums of this disc is how anything that sounds this warm and casual and relaxed could also be so exacting.” – Jennifer Kelly, Blurt
“Anyone who appreciates the soft, intricate lull of a well-played guitar should invest in Sidi Touré’s oeuvre, including his latest, Sahel Folk. . . . the cross-cultural evocative power of Touré’s music is clear from note one. The musical motifs he generates with his often-double-tracked guitar are solid and bold, as if carved from strong wood, and offer a stirring take on song dynamics.” — Loren Poin, FILTER

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